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Play OverviewPlay Overview

Balatro (2024) is a card-battle game where you build poker hands using special cards that turbo-charge your chances to beat an increasing score target. Play involves combining classic poker hands with Jokers, Tarot and Planet cards that create combos and enhancements to your cards. It stands out for the simple premise and more-ish fun of finding combinations of cards and deck-adjustments that stack up for big points.

Balatro is a poker-inspired deck-building game where you play multiple poker hands to score enough points to meet an increasing target. Each round you have a certain number of hands to play and limited chances to discard cards for new ones. You earn points for each hand, but this can be hugely increased with combinations of special cards you also have in your deck. For example, you can make Full Houses worth more, or get more points if you play three Straights in a round.

As you progress you learn how the Jokers, Tarot, Planet and Spectral cards work together in complex combinations. They can be used to increase the value of hands you are playing, power up your cards, change the rules of the game or the balance of playing cards in your deck. The key is using these varied instruments that create combinations that maximise your scoring potential. Understanding how each of the individual cards best works with other cards is a big part of the fun.

The result is a game where you immerse yourself in the web of card-to-card interactions and synergies. There's even an in-depth stats screen to study your best hands and most used Jokers.

Our examiner, Ellen Robertson, first checked Balatro 4 months ago. It was re-examined by Jo Robertson and updated 2 weeks ago.
Kids not old enough for this yet? There are lots of games similar to Balatro. Here are some similar younger-rated games:

Play StylePlay Style

This is a Brain Game and Sequencing game with Collecting, Puzzle, Simulation and Strategy elements. This is a single-player game.

 
You can play this game in the following styles:

DurationDuration

Play Time: It takes between half an hour and 1 hour to play a round of this game.

BenefitsBenefits

This game is good if you want to:

Age RatingsAge Ratings

Content Rating

Rated PEGI 18 for Prominent Gambling Imagery.

Rated for younger players in the US. Rated ESRB EVERYONE 10+ for Gambling Themes.
Balatro was initially rated PEGI 3/EVERYONE, but then changed to PEGI 18/EVERYONE 10+ for "Prominent Gambling Imagery/Gambling Themes".

Games that have the following gambling aspects are an automatic PEGI 18: "Contain elements that encourage or teach gambling. These simulations of gambling refer to games of chance that are normally carried out in casinos or gambling halls." This still applies to games that the Gambling Commission wouldn't consider gambling as you can't win anything of real financial value.

We contacted the makers of Balatro, who stated that "the poker theme is purely thematic and you are never facing another player, nor is there an exchange of currency outside of the shop.
As the player, you never bet money on a chance to win or lose money, so there is no gambling involved. While a part of the game revolves around Poker hands like a pair, two pair, full house etc, these simply function as a base score combination and due to jokers, tarot, and planet cards, these will quickly be modified to the point that it barely resembles anything like a traditional card game.

Skill Level

10+ year-olds usually have the required skill to enjoy this game. Still, it's important for parents and guardians to consider the maturity required to process the game content. The level of complexity of the card interactions requires a good grasp of systems thinking. Having strong mathematics skills is also helpful for enjoying the game.

CostsCosts

Balatro usually costs £12.49 to £12.99.
 

Balatro

XBox Store Xbox X|S £12.49
XBox Store Xbox One £12.49
PlayStation Store PS5 £12.99
PlayStation Store PS4 £12.99
Steam Store PC £12.79
Switch Store Switch £12.79
There are no additional in-game purchases, loot boxes, adverts or subscription costs.

DetailsGame Details

Release Date: 20/02/2024

Out Now: PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox X|S

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Players: 1

Genres: Brain Game, Sequencing (Collecting, Puzzle, Simulation and Strategy)

Accessibility: 21 features

Components: 2D Overhead, Board, Cards and Pixels

Developer: Local Thunk (@LocalThunk)


Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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